A "Stay-at-Home" Encouragement for Dads

BEN SANSBURN
There are multiple layers to the impact COVID-19 (coronavirus) is having on every one of our lives. Staying at home - from our jobs, from our activities, even from gathering as the church - is something none of us have ever experienced before. But beyond the very real anxieties over how long this will last and who will be affected, this moment offers an incredible opportunity for families to press into each other and worship Jesus together.

Martin Luther, the great reformer, often talked about families as the "little flock," the church in miniature form. And dads, in a unique way, have been given the high calling of serving as shepherd and pastor their flock. Of course this is true when there isn't a global pandemic, but when the church can't gather on Sunday and many dads are at home more than they ever been, how much more is this needed? So what does it look like in this moment to pastor our little flocks? Here are a few thoughts.

1. It has to be intentional.

Shepherding never happens by accident. Even with more time to spare, meaningful conversations and time together isn't something that will spontaneously generate in our families. We're too easily distracted. None of us wants to end up at the end of the coronavirus crisis, look back and realize we missed an opportunity. That means we need to put thought, prayer and planning into ways we can turn the hope,  trust and worship of our families hearts toward Jesus.

2. It doesn't have to be epic.

"Go big or go home," is all too often my motto when it comes to leading my family spiritually. I want family worship to be this time when it feels like the heavens have opened. More often than not though, shepherding our homes doesn't happen through the epic, but through the mundane. It requires integrating consistent, simple rhythms in the ordinary stuff of life. So bring your expectations down a notch. Lead simply and faithfully. Don't stretch your kids past what they can handle in terms of content and time. Start small and grow from there.

3. Some ideas for content.

At this time in history there is such an abundance of good resources available that it's not hard to get some ideas on where to start. Here are a handful connected to our life together at Summit.

New City Catechism 
We've been using the New City Catechism curriculum in our Summit Kids program over the last few months. The Catechism uses 52 questions and answers to teach the basics of the Christian faith. This type of question-answer format has been used since the early church to teach young hearts. The curriculum also includes catchy songs for each of the questions and answers to help kids memorize them. You can access the content through our Summit app or at newcitycatechism.com.

Bible Reading
There is no replacement for simply reading the Bible together as a family. There's no need for long explanation, just soaking in the language and content of the Scripture over time can make a tremendous difference in the lives of your kids. If you're starting for the first time, try working through the gospel of Matthew.

Prayer
Praying together and teaching your children to pray is worth it. Part of our [email protected] prayer initiative was designed with families in mind. Gather at 7pm with your kids each night and pray through the points and people in that email. If you haven't signed up yet, get signed up here.

Plan for Sundays
Gathering intentionally as a family to worship is as valuable as anything you can do during this season. We are planning our Sunday online services to be shorter specifically so families can watch and participate together, even with smaller children. You'll want to think through the best way to do this for your family depending on the age of your children. We're going to make space each Sunday to give instruction on taking the Lord's Supper. Consider how you might do this with your family. If you have kids that can engage with the teaching content, consider downloading our Sermon Notes PDF for them to use.

Other Resources

Getty Family Hymn Sing
Every Tuesday at 5:15pm, Keith and Kristyn Getty and their young daughters have a live family hymns sing on Facebook. They sing 4-5 songs over 20-25 minutes. Our family participated this past Tuesday and it was a lot of fun!

Spotify Playlist for Kids

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